Most people see Bitcoin as just another way to buy the goods and services they so desire. And, for the most part, that is true, as Bitcoin allows you to purchase virtually anything in the world. But one thing people would like, more than anything else, is to pay their bills with Bitcoin. There are two services [that I know of] which let you do exactly that.
BitWala – Removes Banking from The Equation
The services provided by BitBill & BitWala are very similar to one another, as both platforms let you pay any bill with Bitcoin in exchange for a small fee. Plus, both platforms are currently in an open beta phase, which may last a while to eliminate any possible bugs and collect some valuable user feedback.
Bitcoin is not necessarily here to replace the current financial infrastructure, even though it has presented a wake-up call to many of the “top brass”. As a result of the release of Bitcoin, banks are already looking at working with blockchain technology in order to improve the overall user experience, and become more transparent in regards to what goes on behind the scenes.
BitWala aims to enable the transfer of fiat currency by using Bitcoin. In fact, the company will make any transfer on your behalf, and you pay them with Bitcoins for the amount of the bank transfer, plus a 2% fee. Whether you need to pay a phone bill, your rent or anything else that requires a wire transfer, BitWala will take care of it.
All transfers executed by the BitWala team will be processed within one business day – unless there is a major demand for the service which can lead to slight delays. However, BitWala has a dedicated support team standing by via email or phone, should you ever need to rely on them to sort something out.
BitWala services European customers only – for the time being – and is compliant with EU law requirements. As such, customers will need to provide some form of identity verification if you want to use this service to transfer over 200 EUR per month. If you find the 200 EUR per month limit sufficient, you just need to verify your email address and fill in some basic information.
Bitwala has three “account levels”, each of which comes with a different monthly transfer limit. Level 3 verification has not been enabled as of yet but will allow you to transfer up to 10,000 EUR per month. Level 2 – which requires a scan of a utility bill and your passport/ID card – lets you transfer up to 1,000 EUR per month.
Note from the Author: I have not used Bitwala myself, so if you decide to test it out, do so at your own risk.
BitBill – Why Not Use Bitcoins To Pay Your Bills?
For the most part, BitBill offers exactly the same functionality compared to BitWala, but there are some key differences. First of all, BitBill does not require you to create an account to use the service, something which I greatly appreciate myself. You just need to fill in two separate forms, pay for the transaction, and you are all set and done.
Despite not requiring users to register, BitBill does give you an overview of previous transactions. Every transaction you execute will require you to create a unique password. This password, combined with your email address, will give you an overview of that individual transaction on the BitBill website.
Tip from the Author: Make sure to always generate a secure password, by using the LastPass plugin (or something similar). Never generate the same password twice.
Unlike its BitWala counterpart, BitBill charges a lower fee per transaction. Instead of the 2% charged by its competitor, BitBill charges a 1% fee plus 0.95 EUR per transaction. The 0.95 EUR is the standard fee for sending an SEPA transfer to any other country in the European Union that is SEPA-eligible.
But as you probably have guessed by now, BitBill is also only available to customers in Europe. For me, that is excellent news, as this means us Europeans finally get a service before the Americans do, which is a nice change of pace in the Bitcoin world. And who knows, maybe we’ll see this type of service available for other continents in the near future! A full list of supported countries can be found here.
Last but not least, BitBill does not support just Bitcoin for paying your bills. Because the service is using LitePaid to process cryptocurrency payments, a total of 24 different digital currencies are supported at this point in time. These currencies include Bitcoin, Dogecoin, Litecoin, Darkcoin (or DASH as it’s called nowadays), Blackcoin, Digibyte and XCurrency.
For a full list of supported currencies, click here.
I used the BitBill service myself a few weeks ago [for a transaction of 50 EUR], which was marked as “completed” the very next day. Payments are coming from a bank account in The Netherlands, so it may take a few business days before the funds are received. In my case, the whole process took three business days from start to finish.